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Heishi Ostrich Egg Shell Trade Beads Old Africa

$39.00
Product #: 111468
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Title Trade Beads Heishi Ostrich Egg Shell Africa
Type of Object ostrich egg shell
Made In South Africa
Traded In Africa
Approximate Age 20th century
Overall Condition Good to fair. Some of these beads have traveled at least three continents, and have graced numerous owners. Small chips, corrosion, and pitting are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.
Damage/Repair Dirt, chips, and general wear.
Bead Size 4-16 mm diameter. See picture with penny for size comparison.
Strand Length 24 inches of beads


Additional information: The use of ostrich egg shell to make these small "heishi" disks is a South African tradition dating back 20,000 years.


Strings of Ostrich eggshell beads are still worn atall ritual ceremonies by San in the Kalahari who believe that they have supernatural potency.  Women make the beads and string them and they are valued items for gift exchange.